Wednesday, January 30, 2019

(Very) tough trivia

This BBC trivia is so tough I'm going to make it multiple choice for you! Good luck.

What are these?

Old fox deceived
Anodyne necklace
Dirty duck
Deer leap
Old contemptibles

A) The subtitles of Agatha Christie mysteries

B) The clues that unveiled Miss Marple cases

C) Final solutions to Christopher Foyle's dilemmas.

D) Pubs where Richard Jury solves his crimes.

It's hard to think of something to share besides an update on the weather! Yes, we are under the same winter wildness that most of the country seems to be experiencing this week. One of the housebound activities that many of us undertake is reading and that lead me to think about our website's page: "What Sisters/Oblates Read." There are 99 book reviews on it now and I've been thinking about what I'd like to put up for #100. We'll see.

If you, too, are part of the harsh January weather I hope that you and the folks in your area are safe and warm. We have these wonderful overnight centers that open only during the winter months. Primarily sponsored by churches, they offer not only sleeping areas but a variety of other things such as showers, warm clothing, TV, health screenings, etc. Very, very personal and compassionate Christ-like service from Erie's parish communities.

The last of winter berries before a huge flock of cedar waxwings stripped the trees this week.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

The day the ruler "died"--enter a yardstick

In a (serious) four seasons climate such as ours you fare much easier and better if you have "hobbies" in the winter months. Whatever they may be doesn't matter. As long as you enjoy them and they pass the time indoors, especially on days of extreme cold and/or snow. The first of those days this season hit us this week: snow, and lots of it, and cold temps, with colder ones predicted later this week. One "comfort" undoubtedly is knowing that we are hardly alone as these winter storms seem to often cut a very wide swatch across the upper half of the country. But the hobbies do help!

One of mine can be seen here--my neighbor and I have taken on the task of providing seeds and overly ripe/uneatable apples to the birds and deer that frequent the pathways down the east side of the Mount, right by our windows. Out we hike faithfully and are rewarded with great sightings.

Another one of mine is measuring the new snow and the snow pack right outside one of our entrances, one fairly protected from extreme winds and drifting. This Saturday was the day that I knew would be coming soon....the ruler I use to measure disappeared into the snow pack Saturday morning! 12+" had accumulated. The ruler was replaced by the yardstick--hopefully to be reversed soon!

I caught one of our newest members taking a short video of the backyard Saturday afternoon, too. Probably to amaze (if not scare to death) her family and friends in the south! Nonetheless, we must always end this type of reflection with this final remark: It IS absolutely beautiful.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

In tribute

Today I join the hundreds who are paying some sort of tribute to Mary Oliver, who died a week ago. Here she is with Maria Shriver who was granted a rare personal interview. And the interview itself is here.

Finally, it's hard to pick just one of her poems, but the one I want to share today is this:

"What I Said at Her Service"

When we pray to love God perfectly,
surely we do not mean only.
(Lord, see how well I have done.)

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Winter storm Harper

The view from inside..note the accumulation on the screen!

The six-tiered railing on our outside porch.

Sister Karen clearing the lower backyard entrance. Big job.

Again, note the drift up against the doorway
and the huge "globs" of snow on this little fir.

Poor Scholastica, snow covering her feet and lower robe,
not to mention piling up all around her!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The ways of winter

I had three different encounters with winter today. The first was at 7:30 am when I joined other sisters out in the parking lot as we faced that unique thin layer of solid ice that our overnight icy rain left on our car windshields. Windshield wipers are useless, only a strong, hopefully metal-tipped, scraper will do. (Backed up by the heat on high inside the car!). Starting at the bottom you work away upwards, finally loosening a piece of the solid covering--sort of a very thin yet strong version of those thick, heavy ice floes that come down our creeks in the early spring. You continue to break off these large, paper-like pieces of ice until the windshield gets universally warm and you can reach the top and unloosen the entire windshield. What a job!

Secondly, in late afternoon I found that nearly an inch of snow had accumulated on our grounds, but it was in dots/little spheres, not flakes ...just like those Dippin' Dots that are popular ice cream treats these days. Odd!

And third, while reading my second favorite book of Mary Oliver's works I came upon this winter tale, unique not only for its depth, but that its title is nearly as long as the poem! Enjoy:

"Watching a documentary about Polar Bears
Trying to Survive on the Melting Ice Floes"

That God had a plan, I do not doubt,
But what if His plan was, that we would do better?

Sunday, January 13, 2019

PO does not always mean post office

This past Sunday brought poinsettias and postulants to our community.

The poinsettias are courtesy of the end of the liturgical Christmas season which included dissembling the chapel's poinsettias gardens. The beautiful red and white plants were free for the taking. With the right temperatures, light and a little luck they can stay in bloom for quite a number of months.

The postulants are courtesy of two women who wish to continue their spiritual journey by spending time with us to explore whether God is calling them to community here. These months precede the more serious and intensive commitment to a year as a novice. We welcome them and offer both community life and prayer for them as they explore their continued "seeking."

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Ordinary Time Approaches

Blessed "Ordinary time" is coming (Monday) and if you have been browsing on our website at all you can understand how we look forward to it--we have had a ton of activities and events over the Christmas weeks. All of them were great, but the "everydayness" of Ordinary Time, the small feasts that are scattered through it and just its regular rhythm all make for a nice backdrop to the weeks before the "special" seasons (aka Lent) begin again.

BTW, for those of you who knew my Dad, this Friday, the 11th, would have been his 100th birthday! And for those of you who did not know him...he was a great guy--a real people person, which was perfect for his career as a small business owner (jewelry store) as he dealt with customers all day long. Happy Birthday, wish you were here!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Epiphany-Three Wise Women

We had a wonderful Sunday Epiphany liturgy this weekend. The homilist was great, music came off very well, including a prelude by the 30-member schola of the Huron Carol, a beautiful Native American story of the birth of Jesus. At gift time, the hand bell choir played an old Polish folk hymn about the visit of the shepherds, which had our sisters who grew up learning a little of the language humming along!

And finally, in memory of my mother who used to claim she couldn't tell who were nuns after the habits disappeared, yet delighted in "picking them out" whenever we went out (and she was always right!), here's proof that "habits" still live: nearly identical attire from our Sisters Laura, Kath and Dianne, on Sunday.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

In at full force

And the wait continues.

Eleven days. It's been eleven days since I and all the people I usually deal with, both local, national and even just down the hall, have all been "at their desks," full throttle and at the same time, so to speak. In between we had all been in occasionally, off occasionally, on Christmas break, and at any other holiday end-of-year event you can think of. Today, everyone was back...texts and emails were sent and calls were made and a response came through. But---it is a bit of an overwhelming experience after having ratcheted-down for more than a week.

All in all, I survived and I think everyone else did, too!

It helped that we began and ended the day with beautiful Christmas octave prayers and songs and that we are looking ahead to one of our very favorite feasts: Epiphany---and this year it is even on the traditional Epiphany date, January 6th.